Saturday, May 28th—London
Today was the date of our last show for the tour—another gig for the International Pop Overthrow Festival. We were scheduled for 4:15, but time slots can be a changeable thing at a festival; the schedule might have flexed a bit, but it turned out great.
It was a nice slow morning. Leland was off in the neighborhood doing some souvenier shopping. Neptune had gone into the city center to do some recon for his journey home that was to begin tonight. I went wandering down the street. Popped into a shop or two and even into the local library (looked much like any small branch library back home).
Around mid-day, Leland and I took off for the gig. We had to find the venue, then take a cab to a nearby audio equipment rental place, and then get the keyboard back for the festival that afternoon.
This equipment place was massive. It seemed to have offices, a warehouse and, we think, a sound studio or two (for rehearsal? recording?).
Anyways, we got the keyboard, got into the taxi cab, who’s clock was ticking loudly and expensively, and got back to our venue: The Bull and Gate in the Kentish Town neighborhood of London.
Since we were a bit early, and pubs don’t seem to serve tea, and I was still being careful with my voice, we stepped next door to a sort of luncheon cafe’ and had a cuppa.
We heard a lot of good music that afternoon. In fact, I was much impressed by the high-level of excellence displayed by the bands we watched at both IPO Liverpool and London. The funny thing about today’s show, is that , in looking at the festival program, it doesn’t match up very well to the planned proceedings (laughs). First I heard an excellent solo performer. Then came Squire–a terrific mod-style band. I commented to IPO director David Bash that they reminded me of The Jam, and he told me that they were a key band in the Mod Revival of that time. Soon afterward they played “Walking Down King’s Road” a single of there’s that I recognized from a compilation I had back in the day. Great fun. I can’t quite recall the exact order…but we heard The Mayflowers, a slamin’ three-piece of power-pop from Japan. I think we were next…
Good gig. We felt confident and played well. Reports were, that the sound was very good. A very very satisfying last show for the tour (except it wasn’t quite the last…).
Then came the Beta Rays, another terrific band, and they were nice enough to say how they’d enjoyed our set. After this was Mini, a terrifically talented band—I’ve been calling them the Poplord of London. (…while we all know Poplord is from Fowler, Ca!). They all sang and played with great skill AND they had songs worth the playing! Good stuff.
Somewhere in here, David Bash informs us that one of the scheduled acts has had a breakdown on the motorway between here and Liverpool, could we play another set? And of course, the opportunity to play was accepted with happiness. The crowd was a bit thinner the second time around, but we had a great time and rocked it up, throwing in the songs from the tour that we hadn’t done in that afternoon’s previous set. Both shows were captured very well on a three-camera video shoot with pretty good sound. My band mates had the foresight to make sure we acquired these. I’m sure we’ll put some of this material out…youtube?, copies for sale at gigs?… Anyhow, two very fun sets captured on ‘film’ for a great document of this week of music..
And after all that, another fantastic highlight was a Swedish gentleman called David Myhr. He played his first four songs solo on acoustic guitar, then closed his set with a number of songs with Mini backing him. Wonderful! I’m going to have to search out this guys music, it’s pretty fantastic.
So that’s how the musical portion of the tour closed. A great time was had by all. (We even saw some more Fresnans. Gene Day (known locally for his work as a sound engineer) and his wife were in London on business and learned that we were playing. He also supplied a few of the photos in today’s posting.)
After the gig, we popped next door to the cafe’ for some food. We were all very hungry. John and Neptune hopped across the street ( I wish we had photos of the hopping) and got some pizza. I ordered my first ‘fish and chips’ of the trip there at the cafe’. After supper, it was time to head on back to Golders Green and see Neptune off for his long trip home.
[special note: At the same time as our show, a huge soccer ...sorry...'football' match was going on in London. Spain vs. Manchester. The European Cup...which I guess is a HUGE deal. (This may have accounted for the slightly thin crowd during our second set.) The 'pub' side of the Bull and Gate was packed with folks watching on the television. This game, and it's fall-out would affect our journies home. (see more in the Last Installment of the UK tour!!! coming soon...)]